Sanjay Sudhakaran has worked in various business and cultural environments during his 25-year career. Since 2019, he has been a part of Schneider Electric, and currently serves as managing director and chief executive officer of Schneider Electric Infrastructure Limited, and vice-president, power systems, Schneider Electric India. In the past, he has worked at Otis Elevator Co. as senior director, Asia Pacific (M&A and sales and marketing); and at United Technologies as MD, buildings and industrial solutions, and regional director, carrier commercial refrigeration business, across India and Southeast Asia.
Sudhakaran believes that India has one of the largest and most multifaceted power sectors in the world. “Over the past few decades, the country has witnessed significant advancements, and is set to see the largest increase in energy demand over the next 20 years,” he says. At the recent COP26 conference, India reiterated its commitment to expand its non-fossil energy capacity to 500 GW and meet 50 per cent of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2030. The International Solar Alliance was launched to reduce the risk of climate change through solarisation, highlighting India’s commitment to providing affordable and clean energy.
Sudhakaran notes that the sector’s financial health continues to be one of the biggest challenges. Against the global average of 8.3 per cent, Indian discoms have average AT&C losses of 24.88 per cent. The government needs to come up with an effective framework to settle the discom dues, and set realistic tariffs. The revamped distribution scheme aims to reduce AT&C losses by 12-15 per cent by 2024. Next, prepaid meters or smart metering systems must be installed across the country to ensure timely payment of bills.
“At Schneider, we believe that access to energy is a fundamental human right that enables progress. However, intelligent and sustainable use of energy is the key to protecting our planet,” he remarks. Sudhakaran works with electro-intensive customers such as the power grid, metros, railways and airports to deploy software and connected products. Leveraging the power of big data with cloud-based analytics has been one of the high points in his current assignment.
An active listener, Sudhakaran’s management style is participative. He believes in distributed leadership. Communication and transparency are the cornerstones of his operating style.